Good Kids
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Good Kids

2.75 of 5 stars 2.75  ·  rating details  ·  354 ratings  ·  70 reviews
The critically acclaimed author of American Nerd makes his fiction debut with this romantic tragicomedy about a teenage boy and girl who discover his dad is having an affair with her mom. For readers of Chad Harbach and Jennifer Egan, and fans of filmmakers like Noah Baumbach.At fifteen, Josh Paquette and Khadijah Silverglate-Dunn catch Josh’s father and Khadijah’s mother...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published January 29th 2013 by Scribner
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Upon finishing Good Kids, it is very obvious to me that Benjamin Nugent wrote pieces in the New York Times and the Washington Post. His writing style is VERY New York Times. Although he is very astute and descriptive, sometimes I felt exhausted reading this.
I feel like he tried so hard to be..modern and smart and intellectual that it was just hard to sift through all the big words and super smart observations to the actual story.

You are so liberal, I thought, full of longing. You believe so st...more
Ben Richmond
Before even opening this book, I had my doubts. One of the blurbs on the back cover described it as a "literary romantic comedy" which is more accurate than I first realized. Yup, it's a rom-com, but it's literary so don't hold out for such a happy ending.

I wasn't surprised to see that the author was also an essayist, because Good Kids has some great thematic elements--and sort of terrible characters. It's such a fine line between nailing the archetype and getting stuck with a stereotype, and t...more
Leslie Jamison
Here's what happened when I started reading this book: I started and didn't want to put it down. Kept thinking up reasons to go home and pick it up again. Kept thinking, through the course of my day, about when I was going to go home and pick it up again. It's one of those books, where once it was done I felt sad but also deeply aware of why I'd wanted to become a writer at all--which is to say, because I wanted to give other people the experience I'd just had, of wanting to return to the world...more
I couldn't actually bring myself to finish this, so maybe it's wrong to mark it 'read' and give it two stars. I haven't quit a book since the '90s. But I have so little to rebel against, why not rebel against goodreads.

I only give the very worst of the worst bad books one star, so I should justify why this earned an additional star. It's written well, structurally? Like, it's not well-written, to make it interesting: the author has no voice and the story has no tension. But it is written well i...more
In truth, I'd give this book 2.5 stars, not 3. Though it started off strong and compelling, it often ended up feeling pretentious. Maybe it was characters (they definitely are) and the situations they find themselves in, but sometimes it was maddening. Though it has moments of romance and I can understand the desire in life to live in dreams, it just didn't flow together all that well. Privileged people with privileged problems. Funny and emotional at times, other times completely unbearable.
So disappointed by this book! The beginning was promising: funny, and clever, and sad, but midway through the book I just stopped caring about the characters. Josh became sort of unbearable: a smug, navel-gazing Wes Anderson movie times 3. I wish the end had matched the start.
More like 3.5

It's really good until the end because that's when it really seems like he ran out of steam or wanted to really go for an unfinished, "such is life" kind of ending (which makes it seem all the more like a novel of an unwritten screenplay for a Noah Baumbach film). He perfectly captures the whole music thing, though, so he obviously has been there or knows enough people who've been there to write genuinely about it. This was written for this generation, and he captured it pretty well...more
As the jacket blurb suggests, this is clearly for the Gen Y crowd. This books breezes along much like an early Hornby novel without the really funny bits or the universal moments of identification for the reader. Like Hornby, it is written from the male point of view with very little in the way of feminine revelation or character. That is not to say that it doesn't have some moments of poetry that stick out. I'll be honest, I'm too lazy to get out the book again and list them here. But these mom...more
Larry Hoffer
To slightly corrupt a cliché, the sins of the parents are visited upon the children. Josh Paquette and Khadijah Silverglate-Dunn are 15-year-old high school classmates who one afternoon spy Josh's father kissing Khadijah's mother in a natural foods store. The realization that their parents are having an affair creates a strange bond and a tenuous friendship between the two, although Josh finds himself wanting more from their relationship. One afternoon the two sign a vow never to cheat while in...more
I just put this book down and had such a visceral reaction to the ending, or lack thereof, that I had to immediately write this review.

I have never been more disappointed with the ending of a book! It is sad, really, because I had so thoroughly enjoyed the writing style and the content of the book up 'til the last 2 chapters. I appreciated the narrator's way of speaking, having highlighted many phrases for awesome quotes for this review, and found myself really getting into the character, flawe...more
Lindsay Deutsch
Benjamin Nugent's fiction debut represents my Millennial generation perfectly: it blames the Baby Boomers for all our emotional shortcomings, and stars a pop-culture-attuned, out-of-work hipster. It is a well-framed story of love in our culture of infidelity, and, in more ways than one, there's no happy ending.
In 1994, gangly 15-year-old classmates Josh Paquette and Khadijah Silverglate-Dunn witness Josh's dad and Khadijah's mom kissing in an organic grocery store in their Massachusetts town. Wa...more
Donna Riley-lein
Good Kids

Benjamin Nugent

First, this reviewer has a conflict of interest – her son graduated from Southern New Hampshire University last year. My son did not take English classes as far as I know with Mr. Nugent, a teacher at the college, but I want that to be out there.
Take a fairy smart boy and girl growing up in the hothouse world of a New England university town. If you’ve lived in one of those towns, everything has to be “the best” and life-affirming.
That’s nice until Josh and Khadijah (the...more
I tried to like this book. I really did. I made to page 140-something or so, which is pretty far, but I just can't bring myself to continue, despite the fact that I absolutely hate leaving stories unfinished.

The premise sounded wonderful, but the story just didn't play out. The book's great in the first part, bearable in the second, but as you come to the "2006" section it's like the story just... deflates. Young Khadijah and young Josh are sympathetic, but as the story progressed I cared less a...more
Kailey Mccarron
When perusing the shelves of my local library, I was unsure what I was really looking for, whether it be a romantic novel, my usual read, or something new. I stumbled upon Good Kids, a novel described as a romantic comedy. I had thought, why not sway away from my strictly romantic novel choices and venture off with some added comedy.

Good Kids, a novel written by Benjamin Nugent is the first novel by Nugent, published January 29, 2013. Goods Kids, is romantic comedy fiction (rom-com), which at f...more
Review TK

Being in love, I thought, is being half a two-headed monster. There's a reason a creature with two heads is horrifying....Sometimes you get to be the self you've always been, but to be loyal to someone you must be willing to stop being the rebel you used to be. (112-113)

It was strange, the level of familiarity. That double vision, remembering the kid in the adult you were speaking to, it disarmed you. (127)

She kept her tone of voice on a very short leash. (141)

They were still teenagers,...more
I wish Goodreads had a more nuanced rating system, as Good Kids A Novel should earn 2.5 stars, but I'll extend 3 stars as a courtesy. I started this novel with interest and hopes for a humorous tale, but found myself frustrated with the wallowing and self-indulgent narrator, Josh. The plot of this 209-page read is generationally precious and self-serious, and develops so slowly as to make the reader lose interest. I rooted for earnest, hipster narrator Josh to get out of his head and make life h...more
I agree with a lot of the other comments here. I loved the first half of this book and found myself constantly laughing out loud. But something happened about halfway through the book -- the characters became more cliched, and the writing became more detached and stylized. Somehow the emotional subtext got lost. I also thought the book reflected a callous indifference to homelessness, with endless passing references to people living on the streets (as opposed to the middle-class "homelessness" o...more
2 teenagers discover that their parents are having an affair with each other. This throws them into one another's spheres and they become close, until the affair is discovered and the girl and her mother move away, followed not long after by the end of the affair.

Years later, the 2 now young adults reconnect, but they both been damaged by their town-assunder families and neither finds much hope or happiness.

I might have liked this better if it hadn't been so music-heavy, in a boring way. Additio...more
I should have heeded the "for fans of Jonathan Franzen" blurb on the back cover. Just like his books, this was flawlessly written but never compelled me to care about the characters and the terrible relationship messes they get themselves into.
This was an interesting book, and not at all bad, but I feel as though I expected more. While I love the concept and plot of the novel, I feel as though some things weren't as developed as I would have liked. Some of the ideas in the story that I found myself most interested weren't dealt with or talked about as much as I hoped they would be. However, Good Kids does have some good qualities. I love the plot of the story, because I felt that it was original. I also loved the way the author ties e...more
Oct 24, 2013 Jada added it
Josh and Khadijah discover their parents (her mom and his dad) are having an affair. Their families (and lives) implode and Khadijah initiates a pact between the two that they will never cheat on anyone. The book follows Josh through the years as he reflects on that pact and tries to understand himself and his relationship with his father.

I wasn't too crazy about this book. You can read more of the review on my booksploitation blog.
Fifteen year olds Josh and Khadijah catch his dad and her mother kissing, and realize their parents are having an affair. This revelation causes their families to fall apart, and they sign a vow to never cheat, with expected results when they meet again later.
This book was, for me, more smart than interesting. Josh, who tells the story, is an unlikable loser, who doesn't seem especially deserving of the women he loves. Don't expect much emotional involvement, despite the charged subjects of brok...more
I think I liked this book? The ending was truly a disappointment, and while much of the book made me cringe (as in, do people really behave this way on a regular basis?!), I couldn't let myself put it down (I did finish it in a day... thanks, Spring Break). It was challenging to know who to root for, but I think that speaks strongly about his characters. Lots of wit and descriptions, but occasionally too much. It will definitely hook you, but most likely disappoint you at the end!
It has it's moments. The story is told in Josh's voice and the best parts concern Josh and his relationships. I felt that the author really found his voice in the dialogue between Josh and Khadijah and Josh and Julie. When describing other characters I felt like the author relied upon descriptions of what they were wearing or driving but not really who they were. I could almost feel his enthusiasm when he was writing Josh and his struggle to flesh out anyone else.
Joy Matteson
What would happen if you found out your dad was cheating on your mom with your friend's (who you think is cute) mom? In Josh's case, he makes a vow with his equally outraged friend never to cheat with anyone, ever. 12 years later, they find themselves in several tempting situations where this vow is tested over and over again. An interesting little novel--not groundbreaking, but it definitely had some interesting commentary on pop culture.
Kristin Mcelderry
I read this for a book club at work. Honestly though, I didn't really like it. The first half was witty and fun and interesting, but the second half was just painful. Do people really act like that? Speak like that? Think like that? It was trying to be too "edgy" or "hipster" or something, and it just didn't do it for me. But maybe I just don't identify with that lifestyle? Also- warning on the language if you are a sensitive reader.
What is it about doomed childhood sweethearts? I can't even count the number of books I read about that kind of thing. ANYWAY. This is the first book I've read for fun since starting college, but I can't tell if that has anything to do with how much I enjoyed it. I really enjoyed this book, and I liked Josh's characterization. The inevitable similarities between he and his father were very well crafted.

I read this in two sittings, in the span of one day, because of two reasons - one, I had the time (two long train rides), and two, I found myself increasingly emotionally invested in this book and Josh and Khadijah's story. Nugent created characters with personality, and a story that kept me turning the pages. Hilarious at some points, and extremely upsetting at others - highly recommended.
This was a book club pick and I was surprised at how long this "short" 200 page book felt. It was probably because the mood/tone of the book and characters is utterly depressing. Not the ending I was hoping for, although it did make sense in the context of rest of the miserable story. I love a good "coming of age" story but this one just fell flat for me.
Susan Rodrigues
Started off with more stars. Kept waiting for it to maintain the stars! Strong start- weak finish.
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American Nerd: The Story of My People Elliott Smith and the Big Nothing Good Kids: A Novel Storia naturale del nerd. I ragazzi con gli occhiali che hanno cambiato il mondo

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